By Jake Donovan
Ukrainian amateur superstar Vasyl Lomachenko is one win away from a second straight Gold medal and perhaps a second consecutive selection as the game's outstanding boxer.
Getting to the finals was no easy feat as he had to overcome a slow start to eventually surge past Cuba's Yasniel Toledo in a 14-11 win.
The semifinal pairing served as a rematch to the 2011 World Amateur Boxing Championships finals, which was won by Lomachenko. Friday's bout offered a similar feel, though both fighters were tentative at the start.
Lomachenko picked up the pace in the second round, which put him in the lead and kept him there. Toledo never relented, but Lomachenko once again proved to be too much as he edged the Cuban in the final round just for good measure.
Toledo is forced to setlle for the bronze, one of four Cuban fighters who secured a medal.
The win gives the Ukrainian wunderkind a shot at conquering his second weight class in as many Olympic Games. Lomachenko offered a similar level of brilliance in running the featherweight field during the 2008 Beijing Games. His impressive stretch of wins earned him the Val Barker trophy, which is awarded to the most outstanding boxer during the Olympics.
Standing in his way of a repeat is one of the feel-good stories of the 2012 London Games. Soon-Chul Han wasn't expected to make it beyond the Round of 16, but has become the little engine that could.
Han chugs all the way to the finals, after an 18-13 win over fellow Cinderella story Evaldas Petrauskas, who became the first fighter to win a medal for Lithunia when he was guaranteed at least a bronze.
Petrauskas will have to settle for third place, but quickly became a fan favorite among the London crowd. Han's story hasn't resonated quite as much, but his journey is an incredible tale as he is one of two unranked fighters among all weight classes to advance to the Gold medal round.
The lightweight finals take place on Sunday, August 12.
Lightweight Semifinals (Friday, August 10)
Vasyl Lomachenko (Ukraine) def. Yasniel Toledo (Cuba), 14-11
Soon-Chul Han (South Korea) def. Evaldas Petrauskas (Lithuania), 18-13
* Toledo and Petrauskas share Bronze medal honors
Lightweight Finals (Sunday, August 12)
Vasyl Lomachenko (Ukraine) vs. Soon-Chul Han (South Korea)
Lightweight Quarterfinals (Monday, August 6)
Vasyl Lomachenko (Ukraine) def. Felix Verdejo (Puerto Rico), 15-9
Yasniel Toledo (Cuba) def. Gani Zhailauov (Kazakhstan), 19-11
Evaldas Petrauskas (Lithuania) def. Domenico Valentino (Italy), 16-14
Soon-Chul Han (South Korea) def. Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (Uzbekistan), 16-13
Round of 16 Matchups (Thursday, August 2):
Vasyl Lomachenko (Ukraine) def. Wellington Arias (Dominican Republic), 15-3
Felix Verdejo (Puerto Rico) def. Ahmed Mejrl (Tunisia), 16-7
Gani Zhailauov (Kazakhstan) def. Jai Bhagwan (India) , 16-8
Yasniel Toledo (Cuba) def. Liu Qiang (China), 14-10
Domenico Valentino (Italy) def.
Josh Taylor (Great Britain), 15-10
Evaldas Petrauskas (Lithuania) def. Fatih Keleş (Turkey), 16-12
Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (Uzbekistan) def. Jose Ramirez (USA), 15-11
Soon-Chul Han (South Korea) def. Vasgen Safaryanta (Belarus), 13-13 (double-countback)
Lightweights - Round of 32 Results (Sunday, July 29):
Wellington Arias (Dominican Republic) def. Eduor Marriaga (Colombia), 17-8
Ahmed Mejrl (Tunisia) def. Shafiq Chitou (Benin), 16-9
Felix Verdejo (Puerto Rico) def. Juan Huertas (Panama), 11-5
Gani Zhailauov (Kazakhstan) def. Saylom Ardee (Thailand), 12-12 (Zhailauov wins on countback)
Jai Bhagwan (India) def. Andrique Allison (Seychelles), 18-8
Liu Qiang (China) def. Luke Jackson (Australia), 20-7
Josh Taylor (Great Britain) def. Robson Conceiηγo (Brazil), 13-9
Evaldas Petrauskas (Lithuania) def. Miklos Varga (Hungary), 20-12
Fatih Keleş (Turkey) def. Abdelkader Chadi (Algeria), 15-8
Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (Uzbekistan) def. Yhyacinthe Mewoli (Cameroon), 11-6
Jose Ramirez (USA) def. Rachid Azzedine (France), 21-20
Soon-Chul Han (South Korea) dec. Mohamed Eliwa (Egypt), 11-6
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor for Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter:
Tags: Amateur Boxing